Glucose increases intracellular free Ca 2+ in tanycytes via ATP released through connexin 43 hemichannels

Juan A. Orellana, Pablo J. Sáez, Christian Cortés-campos, Roberto J. Elizondo, Kenji F. Shoji, Susana Contreras-Duarte, Vania Figueroa, Victoria Velarde, Jean X. Jiang, Francisco Nualart, Juan C. Sáez, María A. García

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

138 Scopus citations


The ventromedial hypothalamus is involved in regulating feeding and satiety behavior, and its neurons interact with specialized ependymal-glial cells, termed tanycytes. The latter express glucose-sensing proteins, including glucose transporter 2, glucokinase, and ATP-sensitive K + (K ATP) channels, suggesting their involvement in hypothalamic glucosensing. Here, the transduction mechanism involved in the glucose-induced rise of intracellular free Ca 2+ concentration ([Ca 2+] i) in cultured β-tanycytes was examined. Fura-2AM time-lapse fluorescence images revealed that glucose increases the intracellular Ca 2+ signal in a concentration-dependent manner. Glucose transportation, primarily via glucose transporters, and metabolism via anaerobic glycolysis increased connexin 43 (Cx43) hemichannel activity, evaluated by ethidium uptake and whole cell patch clamp recordings, through a K ATP channel-dependent pathway. Consequently, ATP export to the extracellular milieu was enhanced, resulting in activation of purinergic P2Y 1 receptors followed by inositol trisphosphate receptor activation and Ca 2+ release from intracellular stores. The present study identifies the mechanism by which glucose increases [Ca 2+] i in tanycytes. It also establishes that Cx43 hemichannels can be rapidly activated under physiological conditions by the sequential activation of glucosensing proteins in normal tanycytes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)53-68
Number of pages16
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2012


  • Connexons
  • Glucokinase
  • Glucosensing
  • Hypothalamus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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